I got off to a sloooow start with my reading in August. Halfway through the month and I’d barely finished one book. CRISIS. I can’t really complain, though, because my lacklustre reading efforts were owing to my jaunt around the US. Fortunately I picked up the pace when I returned home and racked up six more reads. CRISIS AVERTED.
What I Read in August
The Outward Urge, by John Wyndham
Finished on 16 August – Paperback
John Wyndham is one of my favourite sci-fi writers. Day of the Triffids is one of my favourite books. So when I saw this cute little orange Penguin, I had to have it. I’m pretty sure The Outward Urge is out of print now, so I wasn’t expecting it to be brilliant, but I still enjoyed it. It’s essentially a collection of short stories following the trajectory of a family that’s obsessed with space over several generations. It starts with a story about building the first space station, followed by one about a moon station, then a Mars landing, then a Venus exploration… I found it amusing and interesting to see Wyndham’s predictions of the planets (probably made in the 1930-40s, though the book was published in 1959) considering what we now know. I also enjoy the fact that I read most of this book while 30,000 ft up. It felt appropriate somehow.
The Magicians of Caprona (The Chrestomanci Series, Book 2), by Diana Wynne Jones
Finished on 26 August – Kindle
This isn’t my favourite Diana Wynne Jones book ever, but it was still a fun, light read. Mostly I want to get to book 4 in the series, which is all about Chrestomanci himself. Love that guy. He was more of a side character in this one, which is set in Italy and features two feuding powerful magical families and a civil war. Arguably I could skip straight to book 4 since they don’t need to be read in order. But I just can’t. You get me, right?
That’s Not How You Wash a Squirrel, by David Thorne
Finished on 27 August – Kindle
I grabbed this on Kindle while it was on offer after reading the sample, which had me chuckling. It’s a collection of funny essays about people and life. Well, mostly just hilarious shit from David’s own life, really. I didn’t realise it when I bought it, but David Thorne’s the guy behind 27b/6. I am 100% certain you have encountered his work before. (And if not, you’re welcome.) I read this on the train to my hometown while I was exhausted and jetlagged. It was perfect, because I could not handle anything other than short, humorous essays right then.
Voices from Chernobyl, by Svetlana Alexievich
Finished on 27 August – Paperback
Harrowing and fascinating, this book collects stories from people whose lives were affected by the Chernobyl nuclear reactor disaster. I’ve always wanted to learn more about what happened, and this book definitely filled me in. I learn much better from personal stories than I do by reading dry factual accounts, so I thoroughly… enjoyed doesn’t seem like the right word. But it’s a truly excellent read. I learned about what happens to a body when it’s exposed to insane amounts of radiation. I learned about the people who were evacuated from Pripyat – and those who refused to leave. I learned what happened to children of Chernobyl. I learned about lies and deceit and cover-ups and I learned about the heroic nature of Soviet people. I learned a lot.
Attack on Titan, Vol. 19, by Hajime Isayama (graphic novel)
Finished on 30 August – Kindle (iPad)
Ah, my beloved Attack on Titan. I get a new volume every three months. I still love it. I DON’T WANT IT TO EVER END. (Note: super excited to hear the second season of the anime will be coming in 2017.)
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne
Finished on 30 August – Kindle
LOVED IT. I went into this with zero expectations. Well, that sounds bad. What I mean is, I didn’t think much about it beforehand. I just read it because it’s Harry Potter, you know? Anyway, even if I had had expectations, I don’t think I would’ve been disappointed. I really enjoyed the story. It was tight and… neat. Maybe some people would think it was too neat, but considering it’s a stage play and therefore must have limitations, I think the writers did a great job. As I was reading, I was picturing the entire world of Harry Potter, so sometimes it threw me off a little when stage directions were included, and then I had to remind myself I was reading a play and picture it on a stage instead. P.S. I love Albus and Scorpius. The little dudes.
The Lady in the Van, by Alan Bennett
Finished on 31 August – Kindle
I picked this one up because it’s short and sweet and I figured it would be a good book to read when I was having trouble falling asleep. And so it was. Not the most entertaining thing I’ve ever read, but it was enough to occupy my mind at night. I like Alan Bennett’s humour and gentle personality. Patience of a saint to let a crazy old lady live in a van on his driveway for years.
My August Book Statistics
Books read: 7
Kindle books: 5
Progress towards 2016 reading goal: 64/75 (85%)
If you want to keep up with what I’m currently reading, you can follow me on Goodreads.